Should California’s marijuana customers be worried about the federal government charging them with a crime?
The measure legalized recreational pot sales statewide on Jan. 1, 2018.
The reader, who requested that we not use her name, said she was asked to submit a copy of her photo ID to complete a marijuana purchase online, through a retail dispensary.
She was concerned her information, and that of all customers, could be obtained by the federal government should the dispensary ever be shut down.
The short answer to her question is: Yes. Federal law still classifies marijuana as an illegal drug and there are no current protections for recreational customers.
Days after California legalized retail pot sales, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama administration memo that recommended a hands-off approach to marijuana prosecution. The move was seen as possibly paving the way for a federal crackdown on marijuana, though it’s uncertain whether that will happen.
To get a fuller picture, we spoke with marijuana policy experts about the likelihood of federal prosecutions and examined customer privacy and data collection practices at California’s marijuana dispensaries.
Like the state’s marijuana law itself, we found the answers aren’t always clear cut.
What information can dispensaries collect on recreational marijuana customers?
To buy recreational marijuana at a dispensary in California, customers must show a valid ID to prove they are 21 or older. A driver’s license or passport is sufficient.
This is the only information dispensaries are required to check for walk-in recreational customers under Proposition 64. The law does not instruct businesses to hold on to customer data following a purchase, said Tamar